Shin Bet foils plan to poison Jerusalem hospital's water

By Amos Harel

The Shin Bet security service recently foiled a plan by some Gazan Islamic Jihad activists to poison the drinking water at one of Jerusalem's hospitals, a charge sheet filed at the Erez Junction military court reveals.

The poisoner allegedly obtained an Israeli pass to enter the country for a medical examination at the hospital with the unwitting help of an Israeli Arab Knesset member.

According to the charge sheet, Iyad Hassan Mohammed Salame, 18, from the Bureij refugee camp in Gaza, had been involved in various attempted terror activities during the last two years. A few weeks before his arrest, he joined Islamic Jihad, whereupon he was immediately drafted to help with the poisoning mission by someone identified only as "Abu Mohammed" on the charge sheet.

The plan called for Salame to go to Jerusalem for treatment at the hospital's ophthalmology department. He was then supposed to drop the poison, made from a combination of baking powder and an unnamed liquid poison, into the hospital's drinking water reservoirs. In return, he would be paid NIS 300.

According to the charge sheet, Hadash MK Issam Makhoul helped Salame get the pass for his medical treatment. But the army says the MK acted out of humanitarian motives, having no idea of the alleged poisoning plot.

When Salame went to pick up the pass, the Shin Bet arrested him, foiling the plan.

This is not the first time Palestinian terror groups have apparently targeted a hospital: Last week, Ha'aretz reported that a Hamas cell from Jenin planned a suicide bombing at Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer. The bombers were driven to the Green Line, allegedly by a Jenin doctor, but the plan was aborted when the cell encountered a heavy military presence in the area.

A security source said that Palestinian terrorist groups are also showing increasing interest in the use of chemicals and poisons in their attacks. He cited the Cafe Rimon affair, in which three Arabs from East Jerusalem were arrested for plotting to poison the food in the popular Jerusalem restaurant.

But other security sources said the Rimon affair has been blown out of proportion. As a result of the extensive media reports, they added, Israeli restaurant owners are now afraid to hire Israeli Arabs - ignoring the fact that the Rimon workers were East Jerusalem residents, who are not Israeli citizens, rather than Israeli Arabs.